Coates Creek Saturday

On Saturday we trailered up to New Lowell for the Coates Creek Endurance Rides. I had promised my sister Heather that she could ride Bentley in the 8 mile ride on the first day as a warmup to our Sunday ride which was to be our first 50.

The whole drive up it was pouring rain.  Via text message, Lee was giving us updates on when it was to stop and we prayed it would be in time for Heather and Linda to have a nice rain-free ride – it did not stop in time.

So Heather and Linda tacked up and got ready to set out in the rain.  I, being the genius that I am, decided to whip out my new GoPro and take photos with that, as it is in a completely waterproof casing.  I fiddled around with the settings and got some pictures of them waiting to go out, then made my way to the road to catch them at the start.

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I thought I had the camera on continuous shoot mode – where you press the button once and it just snaps a new photo every 2 seconds.  So I pressed the button, held up the camera, and waited for Linda, Heather and Jess to come by.  After they left, I “stopped” the mode, only to find out it wasnt actually in that mode – but in burst mode.  So I hadn’t captured any photos of them on their way out.  Drat! I know how much they would have wanted those photos (Heather especially).  Then a lightbulb went off in me, I will venture down the swampy hill to the bridge and get photos of them crossing.  That will be spectacular!

Thinking that there were 2 four mile loops, I knew I didnt have a lot of time to get there… so I grabbed my other camera from the RV and headed down to get set up.  I tied the gopro to the bridge using some tall grass and danced on the bridge to test whether it would stay while the horses bounced along the bridge.

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Then I walked down the creek bank, tested my shots and made a few adjustments, and waited for the horses to come through.

But they didnt.

And I waited.

And I waited.

Still no horses.

Check the GoPro again – I got up to about 900 photos of the bridge (taking at 2 second intervals). So after waiting about 45 minutes, I thought to myself about how perhaps if it was a redirected trail to do 4 miles, then maybe they wont go over the bridge.  So I grabbed my stuff and ran back up to camp, finding it surprisingly empty.  I asked the timers if they had seen any 8 milers in, which they seemed confused about.  After some discussion I learned that the hold was out on trail, not back at camp, and they WOULD be doing the regular 8 mile trail.  Shoot!

So I ran back down, and got there just in time to catch Sue, the first of the 16 milers, coming across the bridge.  I set myself back up, and was able to catch everybody (I think I caught everybody at least!)

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Oops Heather, did nobody tell you to cross the bouncy bridge one at a time?

They finished in good time, but there ended up being no hold halfway so they had a less than dramatic wait at the finish line while it was sorted out whether they “held” or finished right there.  Heather and Bentley ended up getting a grade 2 completion because his heartrate was a little high at 46.  It wasnt that he was tired, it was that he wasnt tired enough and was dragging Heather around the vetting area while he was getting his heartrate taken.  She isnt very good about making him behave, so I told her if she wants to do it again, she has to practice the groundwork at home to earn his respect.  I tell you, it was very hard for me not to step in, but I stayed back and let her try.  Shes hoping to ride him along with our ride and tie at Oktoberfest, so we will have to get the 2 of them working better together during vetting.

I still have more photos from my big camera – but it was left at the barn last night so those will come later!

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